Breast cancer is becoming very common these days, thanks to lifestyle factors and ill effects of diet. Every woman after the age of 20 must keep checking for lump formations in the breast and detect cancerous lumps early on in order to treat them effectively.
Self examination of your breast is the key to early intervention and successful treatment. Technology has improved so much that breast cancer treatment methods are very effective if administered at the right time. Most of the lump formations in the breast are harmless. However, one has to get all lumps checked to rule out cancerous growths. Here are some ways to identify breast lumps.
1. Self examination can be done every day whenever you are in front of the mirror. Before you head for a bath, look in the mirror and asses the size and shape of your breast. Look for any change in shape or size of the breast. Any dimpling, bruising, redness, inflammation, discharge from the nipples must be noted.
2. Raise your hands and again look at the contours of your breasts and the underside. Look for any swollen areas. Look for nipples that are inverted and misshapen areas. You may also check for any orange peel effect on the skin. Repeat this exercise with arms at your hips, arms at your sides and arms held up and palms together. All these poses will give various contours of your breast, making lumps formations easier to detect.
3. Lie on the bed and raise your left hand. Now you can use your right hand for checking your left breast. Place three of the middle fingers on your breast and move in a firm, circular motion to feel any lump formation on the breast. Imagine that your breast is a clock that can be divided into 12 hours. Using your middle fingers, check at every hour point, making sure that you have covered all areas of the breast. Repeat the procedure by raising your right hand and using the left hand for checking the right breast.
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4. Check your nipple area by pressing the nipples for any kind of white or bloody discharge. Discharges can be even due to intake of birth control pills and hence you must not panic in case you find any discharge. You need associated symptoms for detection of breast cancer. Lift the areola and see for any dimpling of skin and change of shape.
5. Raise your armpits and look for glands or other swellings. Check for any arm or leg pain as well which are associated symptoms or breast cancer. If you detect a lump that is irregular in shape and does not pain or move while pressing, you must report it immediately to the doctor.
Self examination of the breasts must be done after menstruation to eliminate the swelling and tenderness associated with hormone fluctuations. Fibrocystic lumps may be more pronounced at the time of menstruation. If any of these examinations reveal any lump formations, do not hesitate to consult a doctor to determine the nature of the lump.